For those of you unware of the position in the UK next Wednesday, let me enlighten you.
There are going to be a wave of strikes by members of the public services – teachers, some NHS staff and notablty for travellers UK Boarder Agency staff.
Earlier in the week we learned that Civil Servants from across the Government were being asked to keep our borders safe by volunteering to man the immigration desks at airports. No work yet on how many are going to get the ultimate power over people arriving in to the UK. Hard on the heels of this we have a letter from the Chief Operating Officer at Heathrow. Press reports indicate that he expects delays of up to 12 hours for passengers at Immigration, with many being held on planes until they can be safely released in to the airport to join the Immigration queue. These were the words he used:
“The delays at immigration are likely to be so long that passengers could not be safely accommodated within the terminals and would need to be held on arriving aircraft.”
“This in turn would quickly create gridlock at the airport with no available aircraft parking stands, mass cancellations or departing aircraft and diversions outside the UK for arriving aircraft.”
Hardly a great welcome to the UK. The letter goes on to suggest that he has asked airlines to reduce their load factors by 50% – so there might be some bump opportunities. Frankly I would be surprised if airlines followed this advise as once they land it’s someonelse’s problem to handle their passengers. Checking a few flights there still seem to be airlines selling seats quite happily.
So advice for the 30th – can you rebook? If so I’d do it now!
Virgin are already allowing changes to reservations by +/- 4 days according to the Virgin Atlantic web site.
The Virgin site also states that ‘It is anticipated there will be less UK Border Agency Staff on duty at the airports therefore fastrack channels will not be available. ‘ This is big news for Premium Passengers!
British Airways are offering a wider variety of dates –
If you are due to arrive on an international flight into Heathrow, Gatwick or London City airports on Wednesday 30 November, you have the option to change your booking if seats are available on one of the dates below:
- 27, 28 or 29 November
- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 December